Republican candidate for governor Tim Michels appeared alongside members of the Milwaukee Police Association for a press conference this week. Michels promised to support law enforcement officers and reduce crime across Wisconsin. He promised to fire “catch and release” DAs who Michels claimed are letting more criminals on the street. Michels also spent time drawing a connection between increased crime in Wisconsin and poor leadership in the governor’s office. “We have a governor, I believe who coddles criminals,” Michels said, referring to incumbent Governor Tony Evers. “A governor that says, ‘You know, it’s not really all their fault. They’re a victim of the society that they grew up in. We need to give them a fourth chance, a fifth chance, a sixth chance, a seventh chance.'” Michels pointed to Tony Evers’ actions to reduce Wisconsin’s prison population, saying those policies had resulted in over 900 convicted felons being granted parole. “This does not lead to a rule of law. This does not lead to a reduction of crime,” Michels protested.
Michels also promised to direct more state funding to law enforcement. “There’s $43.5 billion spent every year in the state budget. If we have to spend a little bit more money to make law enforcement more effective, to hire more police officers – Absolutely, we will do that.” Highlighting his leadership qualities as a successful construction executive, Michels said he would be a strong leader for the Legislature. “I will work with the Legislature. We will make sure we get the funding right,” Michels said. “We will make sure that we back the blue. We will make sure that the laws on the books are enforced. We will make sure that there is enough prison cells available to keep people in jail.”
Responding to Michels’ criticism, Evers’ campaign spokesman Sam Roecker told WisPolitics.com that “Tim Michels isn’t serious about improving public safety. That’s why he has failed to deliver a specific plan and refuses to support addressing gun violence as part of the solution to making communities safer.” Roecker also criticized Republicans for not increasing shared revenue, which local municipalities use to pay for law enforcement. “Tim Michels apparently wasn’t paying attention as Wisconsin Republicans, including his running mate Roger Roth, slashed local funding that communities use to hire first responders,” Roecker said. “For years, Republicans have forced communities to do more with less; That’s why Gov. Evers is working to give communities the tools they need to combat violent crime.”